Category Archives: Hotels

Noticed: New Hotel Flag Raised In Downtown Hartford

by Categorized: Hotels Date:

A new hotel flag is flying in downtown Hartford, but you’d probably miss the sign if you weren’t looking for it.

A modest banner bearing the Radisson name is now hung on the south side of the 18-story hotel facing I-84.

The Ramada Plaza now bears the Radisson name. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

The Ramada Plaza now bears the Radisson name. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

The Morgan Street hotel most recently bore the name of Ramada Plaza but was known for years as the Crowne Plaza.

A call to the hotel and Radisson’s parent company, Carlson Cos. of Minneapolis weren’t immediately returned.

Here's a little closer look at the banner. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

Here’s a little closer look at the banner. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com.

In October, a Florida-based hospitality company took a majority stake in the 350-room hotel and said it would spend $5 million on renovations.

The status of the renovations was unclear today.

Inner Circle Capital  invested $11.5 million in the hotel and took over day-to-day management of the hotel after an investor was sought for the property.

Learn more about the new owners here.

Developer Won’t Appeal Storrs Center Hotel Decision

by Categorized: Hotels Date:

The developer of Storrs Center near the University of Connecticut won’t appeal a decision by town of Mansfield rejecting the addition of a hotel to the project.

“Obviously, we are disappointed with the decision,” Howard Kaufman, managing member of developer LeylandAlliance, told me today. “We proposed the hotel because we felt it would be a great addition to Storrs Center and the new downtown mixed-use neighborhood we are creating.”

He added: “In any event, we will not appeal. It is time for us to move on — we know we can develop a new plan that will be a positive addition to the new downtown.”

The developer of Storrs Center proposed building a 100-room, Fairfield Inn & Suites. Credit: BL Cos., Meriden

The developer of Storrs Center proposed building a 100-room, Fairfield Inn & Suites.
Credit: BL Cos., Meriden

LeylandAlliance had asked the town to change the zoning for Storrs Center to allow a hotel, not previously permitted. The planning and zoning commission earlier this week voted 6-3 against the request.

Two nearby hotels operators — the Nathan Hale Inn & Conference Center and the Best Western — opposed the zoning change. They argued that it would further slicea hotel market that is already thin and one can fluctuate significantly depending on the season.

Jo Ann Goodwin, the planning commission’s chairman, told me today that the commission did not consider whether a third hotel was needed in the area. The main concerns raised by the commission, she said, were the loss of 100 apartments originally planned for the site of the hotel, traffic and parking.

“The intention of the downtown was to be pedestrian friendly, foster local business, be a place for people to gather, and a hotel seemed inconsistent with all those things,” Goodwin said.

Tuxedo Park, N.Y.-based LeylandAlliance had proposed a 100-room, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. The hotel was expected to cost about $5 million to build.

LeylandAlliance had argued that another hotel would be needed in the future. The developer said the university was growing, especially with the planned addition of a research park.

Kaufman said LeylandAlliance would consider restoring the apartments where the hotel was planned.

The $220 million Storrs Center, on the southern edge of UConn’s main campus across from E.O. Smith High School and Mansfield town hall, has already added 322 apartments and nearly 75,000 square feet of retail space, with plans for more.

Investor Plans Renovations At Downtown Hartford Hotel

by Categorized: Hotels Date:

A Florida-based hospitality company has taken a majority stake in the Ramada Plaza in downtown Hartford and will spend $5 million on renovations, it was announced today.

Removations are planned for the Ramada Plaza in downtown Hartford. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

Removations are planned for the Ramada Plaza in downtown Hartford. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

Inner Circle Capital has invested $11.5 million in the 18-story, 350-room hotel and will take over day-to-day management of the hotel, according to David Perrin, a spokesman for Hunter Hotel Advisors, which structured the transaction.

Inner Circle Capital, an affiliate of Inner Circle US, couldn’t be reached for further comment this afternoon for details on the what renovations are planned. Hunter Hotel Advisors couldn’t comment.

The hotel was acquired in a foreclosure early in 2012 by a Los Angeles-based affiliate of family owned Magilink Group in South Korea. In January, an investor was sought for the property.

Perrin said Magilink still retains ownership in the hotel, but he declined to comment on the size of Magilink’s remaining stake in the property.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UConn Big Enough For Two Hotels?

by Categorized: Hotels Date:

The University of Connecticut certainly has grown in the past decade, but can the area near campus support a second hotel?

The developers of the massive, Storrs Center development think it can, and they are seeking local approval for a 100-room, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. If approved, construction of the four-story, hotel could begin in the spring and be ready for guests in a year.

Howard Kaufman, managing member of Tuxedo, N.Y.-based LeylandAlliance, the project’s master developer, told me that a hotel was long a possibility for Storrs Center. But for years, it was unclear if there was enough demand for a second hotel, he said.

In 2001, the 100-room Nathan Hale Inn & Conference Center opened less than a quarter mile away from Storrs Center. UConn didn’t finance the $10 million construction of the Nathan Hale Inn, but leased land to the developer and will take over the property after that.

In addition, there are another 87 rooms at the Best Western hotel five miles away in Mansfield Center. The hotel did not immediately return a telephone call this morning seeking comment.

The campus’ growth, the development of Storrs Center and the prospect of building a research park all justify a second hotel, Kaufman told me. More visitors will be coming to campus as a result, he said.

“UConn is becoming a more diverse university town,” Kaufman said. “Now, there are a lot of reasons to stay overnight.”

The $220 million Storrs Center, on the southern edge of campus across from E.O. Smith High School and Mansfield town hall, has already added 322 apartments and nearly 75,000 square feet of retail space, with plans for more.

The hotel would cost an estimated $10 million. If approved, it would be constructed in an area just north of the existing Storrs Commons.

Kaufman said the Fairfield Inn & Suites is a limited service hotel with fewer amenities. Nathan Hale is full service with a restaurant, pub and conference space, he said.

Those differences won’t necessarily mean a lot because both hotels would be competing for guests that have, at best, been inconsistent in volume, Brian Wells, Nathan Hale’s general manager told me.

“The market would end up being shared at levels not desirable to either,” Wells said.

Wells declined to disclose Nathan Hale’s occupancy rate, but he said it was likely the Fairfield Inn & Suites would have similar room rates as Nathan Hale. Typically, the rates range from $129 to $179 a night, depending on season and availability, Wells said.

“The big client is the university and that’s why [Nathan Hale] was built, Wells said.

UConn does typically commit to space at Nathan Hale, but that fluctuates from year to year, Wells said.

UConn declined to directly comment on the hotel proposal for Storrs Center.

“UConn is the a member of the Mansfield Downtown Partnership and is very supportive of Storrs Center, but we don’t generally comment on their discussions with potential tenants,” spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said.

However, the downtown partnership has endorsed the hotel plan. The partnership is a coalition of town, community groups and the university.

LeylandAlliance must seek approval for the hotel because zoning for the development does not currently allow a hotel to be constructed. A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3.

 

 

 

 

 

New Hotel Will Offer Pampering — On A Budget

by Categorized: Hotels Date:

You wake up in a hotel room trimmed in natural eucalyptus fiber, order granola and yoghurt from room service, and then roll out an in-room yoga mat — a trainer is available just by turning on the TV. Later, you bathe using natural soaps.

The Four Seasons in New York, right? No, a hotel in Norwalk that’s priced competitively with the Courtyard by Marriott and the Hilton Garden Inn.

A rendering of the facade planned for the EVEN Hotel in Norwalk, the former Four Points by Sheraton. Rendering: InterContinental Hotel Group.

A rendering of the facade planned for the EVEN Hotel in Norwalk, the former Four Points by Sheraton. Rendering: InterContinental Hotel Group.

Hospitality giant InterContinental Hotel Group will open one of the first of four moderately-priced, wellness-focused hotels in Connecticut early next year. Three others — two in New York City — also are planned, opening by 2015.

InterContinental purchased the Four Points by Sheraton in Norwalk last month, and plans a top-to-bottom makeover of the four-story, 129-room hotel — converting it into the new line of EVEN hotels.

The hotel giant said it isn’t yet ready to disclose room rates but said they will be comparable to other mid-priced competitors.

EVEN, as the name suggests, will offer travelers a balance between “revitalization and relaxation, health and indulgence,” InterContinental said.

The EVEN brand was launched in 2012, focusing on organic menus; use of natural wood surfaces; work-out alternatives with in-room and instructor options; and flexible work spaces and fast Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.

InterContinental said it chose Norwalk because it is close to New York City, a target market where it has plans for two of its first four EVEN hotels. Norwalk also is in a market that attracts both business and leisure travelers,

Intercontinental declined to disclose how much it paid for the Four Points by Sheraton or how much it intends to invest in the Norwalk renovations. But the hotel giant said it is spending $150 million on the first four EVEN hotels, including the two in New York, which will be new construction. The fourth location in Rockville, Maryland is a conversion.

“EVEN Hotels is the first lifestyle hotel offering a holistic wellness experience at a mainstream price point,”  Adam Glickman, who heads development of EVEN hotels, said. “Wellness means different things to different people, and ranges across a wide spectrum from performance and self-improvement to healthy fun and restoration.”

Glickman said EVEN hotels fall in the middle of the spectrum, enabling “guests to make lifestyle choices they can feel good about when traveling.”

 

Holiday Inn Hartford – East Makes Debut

by Categorized: Hotels Date:

A 215-room hotel in East Hartford with views of the Hartford skyline has been rebranded as the Holiday Inn Hartford – East, after a six-month, multimillion dollar renovation.

The former Sheraton in East Hartford has been rebranded as a Holiday Inn. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

The former Sheraton in East Hartford has been rebranded as a Holiday Inn. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

Renovations to the former Sheraton hotel on East River Drive include upgrades to both guestrooms and public spaces, according to owner The Procaccianti Group, based in Providence, R.I.

The rooms include new carpets, wall coverings, furniture and fixtures. Public areas such as the main lobby, registration desk, indoor pool, fitness center and business center all have been renovated, Johan Liebenberg, the hotel’s general manager, said.

The hotel also has 8,500 square feet of updated function space.

 

 

 

 

Major Renovations Planned For Hartford Residence Inn

by Categorized: Downtown Hartford, Hotels, Uncategorized Date:

The Residence Inn by Marriott in downtown Hartford’s Richardson Building will undergo its first major renovation, after a dozen years in operation.

But the owners of the 136-year-old, brownstone building are looking to the city for help with the project. They are highlighting the benefits of the renovations — expected to cost millions of dollars and begin next year — as they seek to reduce their annual payments to the city for leasing the land under the Main Street building.

The Residence Inn by Marriott in Hartford’s historic Richardson Building (center) will undergo a multimillion dollar renovation. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

Ever since the mid-1990s, the owners, including Marc S. Levine and the Waterford Group,  have paid to the city about 10 percent of gross annual revenues generated from the inn and the other retail and office space in the building. The city council is being asked to cut that to 5.8 percent.

This year, the payment amounted to about $500,000, according to city economic development officials.

The owners say the terms of the lease date from stronger economic times, and the level of payments have made it difficult to set aside funds for the mandatory renovations. Periodic renovations are required by Marriott for a property to continue carrying its name.

In addition to its ownership stake, Waterford, led by its chairman and chief executive Len Wolman, manages the building and is in charge of the inn’s renovations. The 100-suite inn caters to business travelers and those who are relocating.

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New Madison Beach Hotel Makes Its Debut

by Categorized: Hotels, Uncategorized Tagged: Date:

The new Madison Beach Hotel in Madison. Rendering by Glen & Co., New York

The Madison Beach Hotel in Madison was a fixture on the town’s shoreline for 200 years until it was demolished in 2009 to make way for a new, updated hotel.

Now, the developers and owners, Ric and Dawn Duques, are hoping the new hotel — also named the Madison Beach Hotel — will develop the same loyal following enjoyed by its predecessor.

And they are throwing a grand opening tonight to celebrate the completion of the project.

The beachfront hotel includes 33 rooms and suites, each with waterfront views. The hotel also offers a full-service, three-floor spa and fitness center, and three restaurants, including a raw bar on the waterfront deck.

A reservation check shows that for a two-night, weekend stay in July the average daily rate is $525.00.

Check back on Friday for photos.

Do you have any memories of the old Madison Beach Hotel?